Raindrop Fossils

A meerkat sits on rock covered in fossil impressions of raindrops. (Wlady Altermann/University of Pretoria)

Raindrop Fossils – Science NetLinks. <–link to full article

This article discusses an unlikely record of the earth’s early atmospheric conditions.  Raindrops that fell billions of years ago became fossilized in volcanic ash and help scientists better understand the earth’s early atmospheric composition from over 2.7 billion years ago.   This would be an interesting way to incorporate current real world discoveries/science applications as well as a way to discuss and aid in gaining perspective on the vast the geologic time scale of earth.  Another way to incorporate this article into a lesson might be to use it when discussing the molecular composition of the atmosphere, or even how the earth’s biome in general affects our daily lives.

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Science News article: Cave bacteria resistant to antibiotics

bacteria that have been cut off from the surface for millions of years found to be resistant to antibiotics

– Science News (http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/339907/title/Underground_resistance <—-link to article.)  What an amazing picture!  This article from the current issue of Science News explains the seemingly unlikely occurrence  that bacteria living in isolated caves would evolve with resistance to man-made antibiotics.  This type of article would be useful in demonstrating the subtleties of evolution that are often misunderstood and as a way to emphasize the differences between bacterial modes of living and organismal modes of living. For example, comparing and contrasting the rate of bacterial reproduction with organismal reproduction to understand how bacteria can quickly become better adapted to their environment, or to extreem environments.

Another aspect this article could be used to address is  a frequent misunderstanding that I think is perpetuated in  general public discussions of evolution, which is that bacteria are “less evolved” and humans are “more evolved,” this article provides a prime opportunity to address this common misconception.  My intention (or hope?) is that the vivid imagery and the “puzzle” behind how isolated cave bacteria could have evolved in manner that would suggest they had been engaged in coevolution with man-made antibiotics will lure students in and allow them the opportunity to formulate their own ideas, utilizing previous knowledge,  about how/why this antibiotic resistance may have occurred.

Russell Kightley Media: Scientific Illustrator -Home Page link

Russell Kightley Media: Scientific Illustrator (science illustration, graphics and animation) Home Page..

I read one of Richard Dawkins’ books called ” The Greatest Show on Earth.”  I actually got the paperback (as opposed to the Kindle version) because it had color pages with some amazing images.  One image that caught my eye was the iconic animal cell image stamped in every science textbook– but this one was particularly beautiful because it was transparent, wonderfully colored, and 3D computer-generated.  I tracked down the artist in the references list and found his website.  I cannot wait for the day when I can line my classroom with several of his posters!  I really like the idea of the students staring off into space in the classroom and looking at one of those computer-generated images where if you relax your eyes just right a 3d image appears of a virus or a double helix! NEAT, HUH?

Nova

I love watching all the free NOVA full-length episodes featured at the PBS.org website.  My all-time favorite ones are the Fabric of the Cosmos: Space and Time episodes hosted by Brian Greene.  He keeps me up-to-date on all the quantum mechanics theories I could ever hope to understand.  Thanks Brian Greene for making Quantum Theory accessible to all!

Check it out! http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/fabric-of-cosmos.html#fabric-time